There's a new theater nearing completion on Santa Monica Boulevard that's promising patrons they'll never have to drive east of the 405 for high culture again. The Broad Stage of Santa Monica College, a $45 million dream project conceived at a dinner table nine years ago, is set to open Sept. 20 for its inaugural season. Community supporters attended a March 6 brunch announcing big news: Eli and Edythe Broad's $10 million endowment for future programming and arts education.
Hollywood actors and arts mavens mingled during a mid-morning gathering that offered hard-hat tours of the stage, which is currently under construction.
The Broad Stage's aim to become a "global" theater with world-class acts not only applies to performances. The state-of-the-art venue is bedecked in Italian marble and fully renewable Honduran mahogany wood, and architect Renzo Zecchetto designed the structure for cross-ventilation cooling, using winds from the Pacific.
The adjacent black-box style theater, dubbed, "The Edye," will be dedicated to new and experimental works.
Before issuing gushy remarks about the nobility of Los Angeles as "one of the four major cultural capitals in the world," the Broads and Dustin Hoffman (photo, above) were paparazzoed long enough that Hoffman took a cue from President Bush and broke out in spontaneous dance.
Actors James Cromwell and Charles Durning, as well as L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky were on hand for the launch presided over by artistic director Dale Franzen, opera singer-cum-educator, who said, "The arts is about defining, challenging, questioning what it is to be human."
It's a question the Broads are donating oodles of money to answer. After making a $50 million donation, they recently opened The Broad Contemporary Art Museum ("BCAM") at LACMA. It's tempting to say they are single-handedly expanding the cultural cityscape of Los Angeles. And still, they give.
Perhaps because there's something sacred about the arts, or as Hoffman put it, "The theater, for me, has always been a temple."
Kashrut in Wine Country
To life! To food! To wine! Cookbook author and Journal contributer Judy Zeidler and her restaurateur husband, Marvin, prepared a six-course feast worthy of royalty at the Quixote Winery's L'Chaim Lunch on Feb. 10.
The lunch was a featured auction item at the 2007 L'Chaim Napa Valley Jewish Vintner's Celebration, a three-day annual event feting the contributions of Jewish vintners in Napa as well as a fundraiser. Monty and Sara Preiser of Florida were the lucky bidders treated to gourgeres, onion-anchovy pizza, homemade oven-baked potato chips and risotto drizzled with Quixote's petite syrah.
Young WIZO Helps Battered Israeli Women
Young professionals at Young WIZO of Los Angeles' "Have a Heart" fundraiser and mixer gravitated toward an unlikely attraction: a tarot card reader. Founded in 2005, the group is a subset of the Women's International Zionist Organization, which raises funds for battered women and children in Israel. With the help of 250,000 members worldwide, the organization is donating money to build shelters and schools in Israel.
The mixer at Stone Fire Pizza Co. drew 80 guests on Feb. 20 and raised $1,700 for its cause. In between munching mouth-watering pizzas and mingling, Jessica Davis administered tarot card readings with a world religion theme.
Board member Sabrina Wizman-Zamel also pondered the future: "If young people don't get involved, Young WIZO might fade away," she said. "We need to keep the legacy going to support shelters in Israel for women and children who need the money."
-- Celia Soudry, Contributing Writer
Men Behaving Badly?
Nessah Board member Simon Etehad, Dennis Prager, Rabbi Shumley Boteach. Photo by Karmel Melamed
Young Iranian Jews packed the main sanctuary at Nessah Synagogue to hear Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and Dennis Prager debate what's wrong with modern men. The talk, inspired by Boteach's latest book, "The Broken American Male: And How to Fix Him," pondered the lack of emotional attachment American men have for their spouses and children. The topic roused heated debate, which you can hear more about in this podcast by Karmel Melamed.